Raising a child is a challenging endeavor at any age, but teen parents need all the support they can get managing the demands of parenthood, education, work and a social life. In Texas, which has the fourth highest rate of teen births in the country, teen mothers have plenty of resources to help them be a successful parent.
LifeWorks Youth and Family Alliance
LifeWorks Youth and Family Alliance offers counseling, housing, case-management assistance, academic help, job placement and parenting education to pregnant teens and teen mothers in Texas. The organization's North and South Austin and Sooch Foundation Resource Centers assist Texas teens who have aged out of foster care, are homeless because they were kicked out of their parents' home or whose parents can no longer afford to care for them. They offer meals, transportation services, educational support, hygiene supplies, a washer and dryer, and case management and group activities. The organization's affordable housing complex offers an apartment and professional staff support to expecting or parenting people between the ages of 18 to 21 who would otherwise be homeless. Parents are expected to attend independent living and parenting classes weekly and to set and review parenting goals with case managers.
CHIP Perinatal Coverage
Administered through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Children's Health Insurance Program provides up to one year of full prenatal care for the unborn children of low-income women who are not able to receive Medicaid. After your baby is born, benefits will continue until the 12-month coverage period ends.
You and your baby can receive free support and information from the Nurse-Family Partnership from your pregnancy through your child's second year. An NFP nurse will visit with you once a week or once every other week. Family members or partners are welcome to participate in the program. At each visit, you will discuss a to-do plan with your nurse, who will follow up on your progress at the next visit. She will teach you about good eating and health habits and proper prenatal care and will help prepare you for delivery and for family-life planning. Nurse-Family Partnerships has 20 locations throughout the state of Texas.
Texas Women, Infants, and Children's Program
Funded and managed by the Department of State Health Services, the Texas Women, Infants, and Children Program, known as WIC, provides supplemental nutrition, nutritional education, breastfeeding support and health referrals for low-income single or married pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers whose baby is under 1 year of age, women who have had a baby within the past 6 months and children under 5 years of age. Fathers of children under the age of 5 are also encouraged to apply and take advantage of these benefits. Even if you have a job or private health insurance, if you reside in Texas, have an income below 185 percent of the federal poverty income level and could be at nutritional risk, you are eligible to receive WIC benefits.
Early Childhood Intervention Services
Administered through the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Early Childhood Intervention Services helps parents with children between the ages of 0 to 3 with developmental or disabilities connect with low-cost or free services that can help the children reach their fullest potential. By providing free assessments and evaluations, ECI can determine your family's need and develop an individual family service plan that will help promote your child's development, provide support for your family, coordinate services and eliminate the need for expensive intervention and developmental programs.